Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little Stinker

Petra and I were on a trip the other day when we stopped, along with a lovely lady from Narooma Sawmill, to rescue some Eastern Long necked Tortoises that were crossing the road.

These ancient reptiles are out finding mates at the moment, and many have run-ins with cars as they cross roads to check out whats happening in the next know, the grass is always greener :)

...anyway Petra and I relocated these guys to a safer spot, though not before finding out why they, amongst other more poetic names, are called " Little Stinker".
Seems that, when disturbed, they emit a pungent liquid from glands and groin.
A bloke at a road stop, who was on his way back from NT, supplied some soap. (cheers)
Some tortoises also can carry a thing called "Pentasamids" .. a nasty 5 "legged" microbe linked to the formation of cysts in humans...always good to wash after handling them.

These Tortoises are upside down for the shot with Petra and I ( to capture more clearly the design of the lower shell in relation to the top). It is not recommended to hold them that way for extended periods.

In relation to calling them a "tortoise", the Australian museum has this to say:

"The terms turtle and tortoise are often used interchangeably and can cause some confusion. In the past, all freshwater turtles were called tortoises and marine turtles were called turtles. The more recent convention has been to restrict the term 'tortoise' to the purely land-dwelling species. As such, Australia has no tortoises."

More on the tortoise, and many other creatures, can be found on their site here.


  1. Nice post.
    Glad to see you stopping for the tortoises.
    I know about the smell. I always just thought it was because of the muddy swamps they live in.
    Didn't know about their little parasitic friends. Good to know.
    As for the tortoise/turtle bit, I am sticking with the traditional naming. If they have feet, they're tortoises to me. Flippers - they're Turtles. It seems some taxonomists cannot leave any names alone.

  2. Hi Denis,
    Thanks for the comment.
    Same here....they are tortoise to me :)

  3. And the smell/stink is VERY hard to get rid of!


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